Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Review: Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell

Title: Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell
Author: Paul Dini
Artist: Joe Quinones
Genre: graphic novel, fantasy
Published: 27 May 2014
Pages: 144
Rating: 10 / 10
Challenges: NetGalley Reading Challenge
Full Disclosure: I received a review copy of this OGN from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Black Canary. Zatanna Zatara. Two of the DC Universe's brightest stars join forces to combat a deadly new threat-a chilling supernatural foe that preys on their weaknesses and unleashes their awesome powers against each other.

A year ago, Black Canary infiltrated a gang of female criminals set to pull a dangerous heist at a Las Vegas casino. Its leader was skilled in hand-to-hand combat and with more than a passing interest in the occult, specifically black magic, one nasty customer. Rather than be taken by Canary or the law, she went to her death, vowing she would get revenge on Canary and her own former gang members. Now, a year to the day later, death stalks those gang members, and Canary must turn to her friend Zatanna to help investigate. (from GoodReads)

My Review: Compared to what's happening in the rest of the DC New 52 right now, this OGN was a much-needed breath of fresh air! The story opens with a meet-cute on the side of Mount Everest that gives readers a basic understanding of our two leads: Dinah is tough and no-nonsense, while Zatanna is unsure of herself and her abilities, but willing to take a risk. There's a sisterly vibe established here that stays with the girls throughout the rest of the story. They tease each other, but there's also a mutual trust and respect that readers can see forming from the get-go.

The "Bloodspell" referenced in the title comes from a heist that Black Canary is a part of several years after that initial meeting. Tina Spettro has brought together a group of girls to help her rob the casino of her one-time lover, and she uses black magic to ensure that they won't betray her. The heist goes sideways and Tina ends up dead, but not before an excellent and pun-filled fight between Tina and Dinah takes them all over Vegas. A year later, Dinah realizes that the other girls involved in the heist are dying under suspicious circumstances and she calls on Zatanna for help.

There are several things in this story that made me smile: the lack of pre-52 continuity (Ollie and Dina are still together!), cameos by other JLA members (Superman, Elongated Man, Hal Jordan, a pretty funny/awkward introduction to Martian Manhunter), the father-daughter dynamic, the fact that Zatanna's idea of a "road trip" includes a self-driving car, the clever uses of Zatanna's powers...I could go on, but one of the highlights is undoubtedly Joe Q's art. I loved his covers on the previous run of Captain Marvel and was really looking forward to seeing him take on interiors. I wasn't disappointed! He draws female superheros in a way that makes them look beautiful and strong without being overly porny. Dinah's muscles were believable and awesome, and both leads wear their fishnets without looking ridiculously sexy. They also seem to be genuine friends who enjoy hanging out together. It made me really miss the Stephanie Brown/Kara relationship in the old Batgirl series.

Basically, it's a light-hearted story with great cartooning from Joe Q. If you're looking for an introduction to superheros or just want to have fun with characters you love, check it out.

Other Reviews:

If you have reviewed this book as well, leave me a message in the comments and I'll link to your review.

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